Septic systems generally perform well; however, there are a few things that are good to know about a septic system before you buy a property. Here are suggested questions that could save you thousands of dollars.
Where is the septic tank located?
You may need this information when you have the tank inspected or worked on. Additionally, if you’re thinking about adding an addition to the home; will the tank need to be moved?
Where is the tank lid or riser access to the tank?
Good to know when you want to have the tank pumped or to perform maintenance.
Is there room for a secondary leach field should the existing one fail?
Note that if there was a permit and plans, the plans will normally show the future secondary field. The local building department or health department may have a copy of the plans. Having room for a second leach field is important, should the existing leach field fail.
Where is the filter access located?
Not all tanks have a filter, but if so, knowing where it is will be helpful when you wish to check it or clean it.
If the leach field is a chamber type, is there an inspection port and where is it?
Leach fields that are constructed with a chamber type of leach lines may have an inspection port. An inspection port allows you to monitor and check the water level in the leach field lines.
Was a permit obtained when the system was installed?
If the seller doesn’t know, the local building department or health department may be able to answer the question. They may also have drawings of the tank and leach field location.
How old is the septic system (tank, leach field and filter)?
This helps you to determine if you should anticipate future expenses for repair, maintenance or replacement.
When was the last time the septic tank was pumped?
Also, how often was it pumped out the tank. Did they go 10 years between pumping? Knowing when and how often helps determine how the system may be functioning or demonstrate lack of good maintenance.
What company last pumped the tank?
With this information, you will be able to call them to pump the tank for you should you want and ask questions about the system.
Has the tank ever leaked, been repaired, or has the leach field failed?
If so – who, what, when, where, etc. are good questions. These types of questions may provide additional information on the septic systems condition.
Are there any wells near the tank or leach field, if so where?
Systems that are too near a well can cause water contamination under certain circumstances. Having the well water tested will help answer if there is any cause of concern.